At any given time, the marketing landscape is consumed by an overwhelming number of new trends, tools, channels, and all manner of other stuff that marketers are told they need to pay attention to.
It’s easy to get lost in all this hoopla. How do you separate the important changes from the thousands of not-so-helpful duds?
This discussion will look at 6 changes that are producing noteworthy shifts in the digital marketing landscape. These are the cannot-ignore trends and tools that you need to be aware of and seriously consider adding to your own strategies.
Table of Contents
With the rise of machine learning and natural language processing, chatbots have become an incredibly viable and helpful tool utilized by many businesses. Chatbots communicate with customers and clients and mimic natural conversation. They can answer questions in real-time, even if your support staff is unavailable.
Chatbots allow smaller companies to focus their attention on growth instead of customer support. And, the always-available chatbot will improve the customer experience because people can receive help at any time of the day. Chatbots don’t even take holidays! Oh, and chatbots don’t get annoyed by customer complaints or bad attitudes.
2.) Private Messaging Apps
It wasn’t that long ago that marketers were first realizing the powers of email marketing. Open rates have always been a commonly cited benefit of email; customers almost always open emails! You know what they open even more though? Private messages. Messaging applications like WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, and Facebook’s Messenger are becoming the next proving ground of direct marketing.
Private messages, even when sent to groups, are not only opened more, but also users respond much quicker than email. And, these messaging apps are beginning to respond to the increased commercial use by allowing people to pay in the app. This means that private messages can be used to complete direct sales!
3.) Google BERT Update
Google’s purpose is to make searching for information as easy and effective as possible, which is why they routinely update the ways that they evaluate and rank websites in the search engine results pages. The latest update, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers — a mouthful, right?) is focused on better understanding complex language and how it affects the quality of search results. In other words, Google wants to ensure that every top result has high-quality content that is relevant and valuable to the query.
This is going to change search rankings and cause some websites to lose traffic, especially if the content on the pages is lower quality. It’s no longer about clever keyword usage and structuring. Google wants top results to be valuable. BERT is still relatively new and SEO experts are learning the best ways to approach it. The best advice is to create content on your site for the sake of being helpful to visitors and not to appease search engines.
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4.) Targeted Ads
Ad results are also a key part of the Google search ecosystem. Google wants to ensure that paid results are as relevant as the organic ones. This means developing new ways to allow advertisers to find the exact audience they need. It also places greater importance on ad and landing page relevance. If your paid ad messages are not relevant to the keywords being targeted, then your Google Ads performance will suffer greatly.
You should be developing tighter ad groups with more precisely targeted ad messages. This will help ensure relevance, while also improving your CTR. You should also consider the intent behind the user’s search. If they aren’t directly looking for a product, don’t advertise one. Instead, target them with relevant content that may help them reach a purchasing decision on your site.
5.) Voice Search
Adapting to the latest communication channels is at the core of marketing. One communication channel that is gaining significant traction and directly impacting the digital marketing world is voice search. With more people using their virtual assistants (Alexa, Siri, etc.) to complete searches, it changes not only how they search, but what they search. Users speak in full sentences, but they don’t always type that way.
To prepare for voice search, it is important to understand how people ask questions with voice search. They use complete sentences and different wording than they might with a traditional Google search. Thus, it’s good to develop complete questions and answers in your content. It’s also critical to learn what results in virtual assistants prefer. Do they take the top result? Or, do they rely on featured snippets for their information?
6.) Single Marketing Solutions
Marketers utilize any number of marketing tools and software to handle all of the channels in their repertoire. In some cases, marketers utilize over 20 separate programs and extensions to handle everything from content creation to social media, marketing automation, email analytics, SEO, etc. It’s a dizzying amount of work to learn and properly utilize each tool, not to mention it costs a lot!
All-In-One marketing solutions are on the rise. These tools will act as an umbrella for all of your smaller tools. It will be a one-stop-shop for all of your marketing software solutions. Many smaller tools are already trying to broaden their offerings to become a more complete solution. For example, MailChimp, a premier email marketing tool, is now offering marketing automation, ad platform integration, and other features.
It’s a good time to look at the tools you have and evaluate where you can afford to lose certain software solutions. Narrowing down your list will save you time and money!
As you look at marketing changes in 2020, none can tell you the digital marketing change except the digital marketing expert. There are some recurring themes and patterns that emerge. Communication is one. Chatbots, private messaging apps, voice search — it’s all about creating stronger conversations with customers, and maintaining that contact.
Another trend is the sophistication of artificial intelligence and machine learning. This technology is behind many of the emerging changes. As AI continues to become more and more specialized, you’ll start to see stronger functionality in marketing.
When you can recognize these larger trends in the individual changes, it becomes easier to identify the shifts in the marketing landscape that are worth paying attention to.
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